Bringing Chores Back

Owen vacuuming

Baby Owen LOVED to vacuum. Seven year old Owen is less excited about it.

My kids used to have chores.  Every morning before school they had to complete a few items on a checklist that hung in the hall outside their bedrooms.  None of the chores took more than 10 minutes to finish and they were all age appropriate.

When we moved, we somehow didn’t bring that chore-habit with us.  My kids are busier now than they used to be, but so am I.  And so is Matt.  And things that need to get done aren’t.  So we’re bringing back chores, baby.

My kids are thrilled.

We do not pay for chores in this house.  I feel like there are certain things the kids have to do just because they live here, and they don’t deserve payment for keeping their own spaces neat and pitching in a bit.  I also feel like it’s important that they learn HOW to do these things before they move out on their own.  And once they have their own homes, they certainly won’t be getting paid to do their own laundry and vacuum their own floors, so why should they be now?

We do, however, offer a set monetary incentive for certain tasks that go above and beyond IF they are done without having to be told to them.  For example, if the kids fill a kindling basket with sticks from the yard, I will give them $1 per full basket.  If however, I am trying to make a fire in the fireplace and there is no kindling and I have to send a kid out to fill a basket, I don’t pay them for that. 

I’m a mean mom.

This is a great chart that helps me think of chores to assign that are age appropriate. 

age appropriate chores

In order to make this as simple as possible, I’m planning to assign a single chore to each child to do in the morning before school — we really do have enough time for them to knock out a ten-minute task, and that will help me not feel overwhelmed with what needs to be done.  Because somehow writing these things down makes them more official, and because there’s no way I can keep track of that all in my head, and because we have to have some accountability to make sure people are following through, I will make up a chart showing each child’s five weekly chores.  And I will hang it on the wall outside the bedrooms.  Then no one can say they didn’t know what they were supposed to do.

The kids may not be thrilled, but I am less than concerned.  Chores build character.  I don’t love cleaning toilets either, but it has to get done, and maybe having to do it will help the kids be more thoughtful about not leaving a mess behind them when they leave a room.

Do your kids do chores?  How do you assign them and do you pay them?

Also, here’s another way we’ve handled chores in the past that I really loved!


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7 thoughts on “Bringing Chores Back

  1. Mish

    Oh yeah they do.

    besides cleaning the toy room. . . the 4 year old refills napkins, tp, and puts away cutlery. The 6 year old (when his homework load isn’t too much) does paper towels, brings the dirty cloths from the bedroom to the basement and empties the bathroom and living room trash bins.

    We do it Monday through Thursday (we are much less structured friday night through Sunday). They hate Mondays but after that you only have to really do 1 or 2 each day since it isnt an every day task.

    They also only have 50 minutes to get themselves ready in the morning and are home for 2 hours each evening before bedtime. So that doesn’t leave a lot of time. Those little things dont seem like a lot but those quick tasks allow me to keep on my path of dinner, dishes, cleaning, and motivating.

    I think i may do a weekend chore chart. . .

  2. Jane

    mine both will clear their plates to the sink-a big accomplishment for a 2 year old-and 5 year old makes his bed. However, he wants to do everything for $$, and wants to clean floors, make my bed, clean windows etc…to the point where I am afraid if he mentions it at school I will get called in for using my child as a slave:)

  3. Pingback: Checking In: Kids’ Chores Update | Little Nesting Doll

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